Bringing Back The Heart & Soul Of Yoga: Why I Teach Yoga Therapy…

Bringing Back The Heart & Soul Of Yoga: Why I Teach Yoga Therapy

Yoga has created over an $80 billion business and it comes in different packages and forms to fit the modern lifestyle; but have we compromised the ancient roots and heart of yoga? Hot yoga. Goat yoga. Beer yoga. Even power yoga. Where is the “yoga” to soften us, to help us look deeper within, to heal us from the trauma and masks we live behind?

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Need for Holistic Yoga

Yoga in the West is not yoga; it’s exercise. Yes, we need exercise, but yoga was designed in the East as a holistic practice in which physical movement is just one part of the holistic practice. In the West we’ve lost the rituals, having the ability to calm our mind, engaging with our breath and seeing yoga as a holistic practice rather than just a physical exercise.

We need the physical practice, but holistic yoga comes when you take the time to sit with yourself, your feelings, the sensations running through your body rather than just go into pose after pose. Are you being present with every moment? Are you feeling sensations? Are you enjoying the stretch and the relaxation? Holistic yoga therapy is the conscious process of gaining control over the mind. Holistic therapeutic yoga is the original form of yoga, forming over thousands of years ago.

In holistic yoga therapy, which comes from Patanjali system of Ashtanga yoga based on the 8 limbs. Yoga in its pure yoga was meant to be therapy for the body and mind. It was designed to help calm the mind, which, in turn, calms, relaxes and restores the nervous system. The mind always comes first, because when we can calm and relax the mind, everything else will naturally join. I still remember the first savasana I was guided into many years ago. It was the hardest, but most healing pose for me. It was the stillness in savasana that I began to soften and let go. While the physical asanas helped me get to a state of being able to just lay on my mat, it was when my mind was calm and I didn’t attach myself to my thoughts that I felt most at peace.

This is when I began to realize that yoga was not just a physical exercise, but a form of mind-body therapy and it was healing my trauma more than I knew. 7 years later, I would become a yoga therapy teacher.

Yoga as Therapy

Yoga in Sanskrit means union: to unite, but does anyone know what we are uniting? It’s just not just the physical body. In holistic yoga, there are 5 bodies: energy, knowledge, physical, bliss, and mind. Most of the yoga in the west only focuses on the physical body, but in order for yoga to be holistic, the 4 other bodies also need to be engaged. By only focusing on the physical we lose the meaning of yoga: to unite. What are we uniting the physical body with if we only are focusing on the physical?

In the last 4 years, I have shifted my yoga practice to more of a meditation than an asana (the mind-body). The asanas are still there and help me remain flexible and engaged in my body, but I spend more time now focusing on balancing all of my bodies. I read more books on the ancient roots of yoga and meditation (the knowledge body). I am more aware and in tune with my emotions and how I feel throughout the day (the energy body). I take the time to simply smile more (engaging the bliss body).

Yoga wasn’t designed to teach in big groups. It’s a one-on-one practice, but we’ve lost the soul of yoga. We forgot what we are trying to unite. The soul is simply acknowledging all the layers of our bodies according to ancient Yogi science.

This is when we can begin to heal.

Yoga for Everyone

Everyone should have access to yoga no matter cultural, social, religious or financial background. Yoga wasn’t meant to be an exercise, but rather a way of life: a lifestyle. Yoga not only prepares us for our day, and helps us find balance throughout it, it is also preparing us for our death. All bodies are made for yoga. No one is not invited to the practice because they cannot do the physical asanas or because they are not “flexible” enough. Each body is invited no matter body form, age, gender identity, or physical flexibility because yoga is about union: uniting the heart, soul, mind and physical body together.

Yoga is not just about the individual holistic practice it’s also a practice of healing our collective planet. We need to bring back the practice of holistic yoga now more than ever. Drop the modern day yoga trends and bring back this ancient yogi practice because we need it now more than ever. There’s more trauma needing holistic healing and hearts to be opened and inspired again.

Yoga was never meant to be for-profit, but rather for the people. Let’s bring it in its authentic and holistic form: yoga therapy.


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Ruth Krug

I am am international trauma informed yoga therapy teacher teaching worldwide, spreading the ancient teachings of holistic yoga therapy to…

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